Sharks stop Scorchers in defensive clash

BBL Championship
Surrey Scorchers 54-60 Braun Sheffield Sharks (18-16, 10-11, 12-15, 14-18)
Scorchers – Taylor 12, Martin 12, Wang 11; Sharks – Banks Jr 15, Nelson 13, Ratinho 12

When two of the lowest rated teams in the league go head-to-head you might think it’s not the most exciting contest, but it was proof that the B Braun Sheffield Sharks can win an entertaining game , even if they just put 60 points on the board.

The reason Surrey Sports Park visitors and home Surrey Scorchers usually score around 74 points per game has more to do with the teams style of play. Sheffield coaches Lloyd Gardner, Surrey and Atiba Lyons build good defensive groups and design their attacks to suit the style of their best players.

Sorcerers rely on Padiet Wang to create. He pushes the ball well, but he can break down defenders with a choppy style. But he has a bit more help now in the form of newcomer Ryan Martin. He edged out Sheffield’s Marcus Delpeche for a fadeaway that ultimately missed, but rushed to chase a loose ball that cleared the way for team-mate Luke Busumbru, who ran through a broken defense for a fine lay -up for the last tied points it goes up 13-13.

On the other side, the Sharks put the ball back in the hands of Saeed Nelson. He and Kipper Nichols are the main perimeter makers on the team, but they like to give the ball to big man Bennet Koch. He can see over defenses and pass well, he sets good screens, but he can also back up a defender with good footwork and create his own hook shots, which he did to start the second quarter. The single dribble turn was so smooth that Koch looked like a ballet dancer setting up the easy two.

With both sides with several good big guys, it doesn’t leave much room in the paint, but Koch had the opportunity to show off his good pass a few minutes later when he found Channel Banks Jr cutting under the basket , who also made his presence felt from a distance.

The Scorchers’ low shot attempts and scoring this season is a big reason they’ve struggled for wins. Going into the match only 1-7 in the Championship, they were against him with British guard Josh Steel in street clothes with Dean Winless.

To deal with that and other injuries, Martin joined the team in recent weeks and he was a big reason for that win, which came against Newcastle Eagles a week earlier when Martin had 20 points. He had seven points in the first half against Sheffield, including four in the second quarter on unconventional jumping shots – you don’t get points for style, but you get points if they come in.

Sheffield had their own problems and lost Nichols after just 12 minutes.

Only one point separated the two teams at half-time, which seemed like another low-scoring affair. Multiple 24-second violations and other turnovers by the Sharks gave the Scorchers the lead.

Clearly both teams’ defenses were overdrive. Sheffield was getting blocks through paint packing and good rotations, while guards were hunting in passing lanes to get steals. Meanwhile, Surrey didn’t leave much space below the three-point line, meaning the Sharks – one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league – couldn’t get any confident shots and were forced into more 24-second violations. .

Sheffield forced nothing despite the great defensive pressure from Surrey. With two minutes remaining in the third, the Sharks continued to move bodies and out of dribble penetration, which led to an open three from Banks Jr. Curry and Nelson found it open for the bucket that set them up six.

They still couldn’t hold a comfortable lead, as Quincy Taylor made a personal tear: he drove hard after good timer management and was fouled on the spot to hit two free throws. He then came back into the paint for two and then tackled Jordan Ratinho to hit another driving layup on the next possession.

This tied the game at 40 apiece. Koch got a bucket before the end of the quarter, but everything was set for a tense finish.

Charleston Dobbs entered the fourth without having much of an impact on the game, but he made the most of the opening minutes of the last frame by closing in on the line and then leveling the contest on a back jumper. He hit another free throw before being replaced by Taylor, receiving a job well done cheer from the bench as he did.

A perfect example of why Sheffield are a low scoring team came with just under seven minutes left in the game. After a steal at the top of the perimeter, Banks Jr led a three-on-two advantage in transition, but they slowed the ball down and set up a five-on-five attack. It worked, they opened up Marcus Delpeche in the paint and Scorchers fouled him trying to recover – he did one of two to go two points ahead.

The Sharks pushed the lead to five, but there was confusion with four minutes left in the game. They commit the fewest turnovers per game in the league, but Sheffield had another 24-second violation, so credit must go to the Scorchers defence. This led to a big Martin lay-up for Surrey at the other end, which again put the home side on a mini-run to recover from a one-point deficit.

Sheffield are one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the BBL, but they managed ten against Surrey, including a huge one for Koch, who found Rodney Glasgow Jr for a jumping back. It slowed the Scorchers’ run and it got sloppy: the rushing attack and bad fouls allowed their opponents to sneak onto the scoreboard.

It may not have been a high-scoring affair, but the tense defensive competition made for an entertaining basketball game, which resulted in another disappointing loss for the hosts.

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